Alyssa Devine Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

Alyssa Devine is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.)

Without further ado, here’s the winning story:


flash fiction writing prompt copyright ks brooks celebrity deck
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

by Alyssa Devine

It seemed so surreal, so out of place at the time, this dejected girl of perhaps five sitting alone among the instruments of war. Certainly, a parent—I would guess, her father—must be nearby. Troops were mustering for the Second Battle of the Aisne, so it was only a matter of time before she would have to say goodbye. But to whom? And where were they?

“Where is your father?” I asked in French, hoping to elicit a response. There was no answer. Again, I asked: “Is your father nearby?”

“He is with my mother at the café,” she responded in the tiniest of voices, almost as if it were a secret.

I nodded my understanding.

“You know,” she volunteered, “he’s not going to come home from the war.”

I was taken aback, not only by what she said but by how matter-of-factly she said it, without the hint of emotion. To her, it was a settled fact, something of which she was sure and about which there would be no debate.

“Of course he’ll return,” I said reflexively. “He will be fine.”

“My doll, Mademoiselle Babette, said my grandfather, Papa Jacques, would die in the war, and he never returned.”

“But these things happen,” I protested. “I’m sure your father will be fine.”

“And Mademoiselle Babette also told me my brother, Marius, would die fighting the Germans, and he never returned.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“No,” she said, “Papa is not coming home from the war.”

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